LYNN — A dead dolphin washed up in Lynn on Saturday.
The male, juvenile white-sided dolphin carcass was found in the sand on King’s Beach late Saturday afternoon. Terry Rogers, a volunteer for the rescue rehab field response team with the New England Aquarium, took photos of the sea mammal and collected data.
“It’s really sad it died,” said eight-year-old Swampscott resident Olivia Meleg. “I’ve never seen a dead animal this big before. People need to stop polluting the ocean and pick up their trash.”
Tony LaCasse, media relations director for the aquarium, said the dolphin is the same one that washed up on Eisman’s Beach in Swampscott early Friday morning. Before rescue volunteers could make it to Swampscott on Friday, the tide took the dolphin carcass back to sea, he said.
“It’s not uncommon for dolphins on the North Shore,” said LaCasse. “In this case, the thing to keep in mind is we don’t know if it died off the coast of Lynn or out at sea and it’s a wash-up. Given the wind (Saturday), my guess is he probably died west of Stellwagen Bank, which is a big national marine sanctuary where there is a lot of dolphin and whale activity right now.”
LaCasse said there are hundreds of dolphins 20 miles east of Lynn, near the north side of Boston Harbor and Cape Ann. White-sided dolphins are one of the two most common species in southern New England and, as grown adults, they can be six to eight feet long and weigh 300 to 400 pounds, he said.
“Think of them as the linebacker in dolphin world in New England,” said LaCasse. “Dolphins didn’t used to be here but they are now because we cleaned up a lot of pollution in our waters. Plastics is our next big challenge.”
The mammal’s cause of death is unknown, LaCasse said. Mortality rates in dolphins are much higher in their first two years of life, he said.
“That’s just nature,” he said.
LaCasse said his response team notified the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which owns the property where the dolphin washed up. Volunteers collected data at the scene and Saturday and, since the aquarium has no plans to necropsy the carcass, it is DCR’S responsibility to dispose of it.
“The number one thing people should do if they come across this is call the aquarium’s marine animal hotline or their local police station,” said LeCasse. “It’s a dead animal, so you don’t know how it died. It’s OK to observe but you should do so from at least 15 or 20 yards away.”